11.30.2006

REVIEW: Prairie Home Companion (Robert Altman, 2006)

Altman is true to form here despite declining health, weaving an often delightful and eclectic one-night stand with an all-star cast. He had one of my favorites, Paul Thomas Anderson, helping him out. Anderson has always been a notorious Altman fan and seeing them working together is chilling in all the right ways.

The music is truly the highlight of the proceedings, featuring fun folk songs sung by actual members of the original show (including, of course, Garrison Keillor himself) and the ensemble of top-notch actors. I, for one, rushed to iTunes to download the soundtrack. Also well worth mentioning is the way Keillor's script bypasses reality to have one of his famous creations, Guy Noir the sly yet clumsy private eye, backstage and interacting with people.

Most of the cast from John C. Reilly and Woody Harrelson to Meryl Streep and Lilly Tomlin were very impressive as per usual, while Maya Rudolph and Kevin Kline stole many a scene. The only minor disappointments acting-wise came in the form of phoned-in performances from Tommy Lee Jones and Lindsay Lohan.

Give Companion a shot. It makes you feel good inside without trying to push forward a hoaky message. It's just there and it's wonderful if you allow it to be, and if your family has lived with Keillor's dry wit occasionally in the background as mine has, you're sure to find something to appreciate.

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